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Europol Report: Right-Wing Terrorism

This section of the same Europol report catalogues the motivations for Right-Wing terrorism in Europe with examples of attacks and groups. These movements tend to be nationalistic and white supremacist in nature. Click here for the full reading:

Right-Wing Terrorism Defined

"Right-wing terrorism refers to the use of terrorist

violence by right-wing extremists. Variants of right-wing extremism are neo-Nazism, neo-fascism and ultra-nationalist formations.

Right-wing terrorism seeks to change the entire political, social and economic system on a right-wing extremist model. A core concept in right-wing extremism is supremacism or the idea that a certain group of people sharing a common element (nation, race, culture, etc.) is superior to all other people. Seeing themselves in a supreme position, the particular group considers it to be their natural right to dominate the rest of the population. In addition, right-wing extremist ideologies feed on a variety of hateful sub-cultures, commonly fighting back against diversity in society and equal rights of minorities. Racist behaviour, authoritarianism, xenophobia, misogyny and hostility to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities and immigration are commonly found attitudes in right-wing extremists.


For 2019, EU Member States reported a total of six completed, failed or foiled right-wing terrorist attacks: one in

Lithuania, one in Poland and four in the UK. The only completed terrorist attack occurred in the UK on 16 March

2019, the day following the attacks in Christchurch (New Zealand). The 50-year-old perpetrator reportedly looked or a random target in Surrey and stabbed and injured a 19-year-old Bulgarian male sitting in a car. Whilst not convicted of any offences specified in the UK terrorism act, the judge ruled in September 2019 that the attacker’s behaviour constituted a terrorist act. A video excerpt of the Christchurch massacre was found on the perpetrator’s mobile telephone.

On 9 October 2019, a 27-year-old German male attempted to attack the synagogue in Halle an der Saale (Saxony-

Anhalt), where worshippers were celebrating the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. After failing to break open the locked entrance doors by firing shots and using an IED, he randomly shot and killed a female passer-by. Subsequently, he drove to a Turkish restaurant, where he killed one male. During the course of his escape, he repeatedly shot at additional persons, injuring two of them seriously. The suspect was arrested approximately an hour and a half after the initial synagogue attack, having crashed his getaway vehicle. He was indicted for two counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder. The suspect recorded the attack with a video camera attached to his helmet and live-streamed his actions on the online gaming platform Twitch. He addressed his perceived viewers, speaking in English and using

terminology taken from online gaming. Prior to the attack, he had posted a ‘manifesto’ online, in which he displayed

his homemade firearms and IEDs. Some non-essential parts of the firearms were produced with a 3D printer.

It is believed that the attacker was socially isolated and predominantly motivated by a mixture of anti-Semitism and


Ireland reported a strong international network involving right-wing extremists from Ireland, other European

countries and the USA. Denmark assessed that Danish right-wing extremists were increasingly building relations

with like-minded individuals abroad, including on virtual platforms. These relations enable right-wing extremists

to learn new modi operandi and adapt to new national legislation, for example.


Right-wing extremists seek to extend their influence to other circles or sectors of activity. One example is hooligans. Sweden observed interaction between the violent right-wing extremist movement and Swedish sports hooligans. However, cooperation appears to be ad hoc and based on personal relationships. In Italy, violent supporters of Italian football teams were noted to be increasingly politicised. In July 2019, a police operation brought to light connections between far-right groups and violent supporters of football club Juventus Turin, in particular among the Drughi Giovinezza and Tradizione fan clubs. According to Hungary, football hooligans join right-wing organisations not for ideological reasons, but for possibilities of violent manifestations. Sweden also noted that right-wing extremists and motorcycle gangs involved in organised crime are in contact. Again, these contacts are based on personal relationships and do not take place on the organisational level. However, right-wing extremist groups might borrow from motorcycle clubs their highly hierarchical structures, inspired by the Hell’s Angels.

Violent right-wing extremist sentiments are fed from different sub-currents, which are often based on very different (perceived) grievances. Consequently, the right- wing extremist spectrum is not uniform in its appearance; it is a mixture of prejudices, contemptuous and totalitarian ideologies that, each in their own way, pose a threat to security.

These include National Socialist-oriented groups and neo-Nazi groups; revisionist individuals and groups; racist and anti-Jewish groups; and skinhead and right-wing extremist hooligan groups.

In addition, right-wing extremism draws on a variety of other hateful sub-cultures, all of which reject diversity and consider religious, ethnic or sexual minorities as enemies.


Sexual frustration and misogynist views have been expressed explicitly by the perpetrators of the attacks in Christchurch (New Zealand) and Halle (Germany) in 2019 and in 2020 in Hanau (Germany). Anti-feminism has been fitted into the ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory: feminism is alleged to have been invented to distract women from their ‘natural’ role as mothers and, consequently, blamed for decreasing birth rates in Western countries, which in turn allows immigrants – whose women supposedly have not been influenced by feminist rhetoric – to become the majority more rapidly. Such ideas provide a rationalisation for sexual frustration. They serve as a bridge for right-wing extremists to be inspired by the involuntary celibate (incel) movement. This misogynist community of mainly young men meet in online spaces similar to those frequented by white supremacists and blame their inability to find sexual partners on women being influenced by feminism.

A 22-year- old man who in May 2014 killed six people in a mass shooting targeting a sorority of his college in Isla Vista (California, USA) before committing suicide has become an emblematic figure for the incel movement. In April 2018, a 25-year-old man, inspired by incel ideology, killed ten people, mainly women, in Toronto (Canada) by ploughing a van into pedestrians. In November 2018, two women were shot dead at a yoga studio in Tallahassee (Florida, USA).

The 40-year-old perpetrator, who compared himself to the Californian attacker, pre-planned the attack and had a history of hatred towards women."

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